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Searching for the eco-friendly packaging Holy Grail.jpg

Searching for the eco-friendly packaging Holy Grail

Even with the growth of innovative packaging solutions, brands in the natural products industry are still looking to satisfy their unique product protection needs. Cost barriers and other limitations have slowed adoption, but new plant-based plastic options may help to fill the bill.

Sustainability is the aspirational buzzword connecting our current industry spectrum, and in the realm of packaging, it means less is more: less plastic and less waste plus an improved use of renewable resources equal a more positive eco-footprint. But for the natural products industry, it’s not as easy as swapping out materials or whittling away excesses. Foods, beverages and dietary supplements require specific protections from their packaging and while innovative new packaging options abound, the natural products industry is finding itself still in search of viable solutions.

The natural products industry’s wellness ethos has positioned it to be a trend-setting pioneer of important ideals like organic, non-GMO and allergen-free, so you’d think the adoption of sustainable, non-plastic packaging would be the next logical next step. Not so fast. Despite innovations in eco-altruistic packaging, the natural products industry is still grappling with cost barriers and other limitations.

For legacy brands though, cost can be a deal-breaker. Despite the cost factor, innovation in alternative sustainable packaging abounds.

For packaging suppliers, offering sustainable options is no longer optional; it’s expected. “There has been tremendous investment in finding traditional plastic alternatives, including ocean plastics and bio-resins. Bio-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate) can go up to 30% plant-based, while bio-based HDPE can be 100% plant-based,” said Julie Saltzman, director of marketing, Berlin Packaging, adding that one of the biggest factors advancing the broader adoption of plastic alternative packaging is the circular nature of the demand loop connecting the packaging industry with brands and their consumers. “That will eventually lead to sustainable packaging not as an alternative, but essential to all products.”

To read this article in its entirety, check out the Packaging: The global challenge of sustainability – digital magazine.

Joanna Cosgrove is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has covered the dynamic dietary supplement and healthy food and beverage industries for nearly 20 years.

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